Bloomberg News

Stocks in Switzerland Retreat to a Two-Week Low; UBS, Credit Suisse Fall

February 27, 2012

Swiss stocks dropped to a two-week low after the Group of 20 nations rebuffed calls from Europe to boost the International Monetary Fund’s resources to fight the region’s debt crisis.

UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), the country’s largest lenders, slid at least 0.9 percent. Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the world’s biggest operator of offshore drilling rigs, climbed 4.6 percent after fourth-quarter sales beat analyst estimates.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI), a measure of Switzerland’s biggest and most actively traded companies, retreated 0.7 percent to 6,143.92 at the close in Zurich, its lowest level since Feb. 10. The gauge has still advanced 3.5 percent this year as the European Central Bank increased lending to banks and U.S. economic reports topped forecasts. The broader Swiss Performance Index added less than 0.1 percent today.

“Doubt is weighing on equity markets,” said John Plassard, director at Louis Capital Markets SA in Geneva. “Investors know Germany has always shown resistance to a higher firewall and that causes some tension.”

The SMI dropped last week on investor concern about Greece’s ability to implement austerity measures needed for a second rescue package.

G-20 officials told the euro area’s political leaders to come up with more money before they consider lending outside support. They put the onus on Germany, already the biggest national contributor to the bailouts, to deepen rescue efforts.

German Vote

As the German Parliament approved a second Greek aid package today, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government must now decide whether to back plans at a March 1-2 European Union summit to combine the rescue funds and create a total capacity of 750 billion euros ($1 trillion).

The world economy is “not out of the danger zone” amid fragile financial systems, high public and private debt and rising oil prices, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said this weekend.

UBS and Credit Suisse fell 1 percent to 12.75 Swiss francs and 0.9 percent to 24.70 francs, respectively. Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN) slipped 0.7 percent to 101.10 francs.

Logitech International SA (LOGN), the world’s biggest maker of computer mice, slumped 3.9 percent to 7.71 francs as a gauge of European technology companies was among the worst companies of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Transocean added 4.6 percent to 48 francs as fourth-quarter revenue rose 8 percent to $2.4 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of $2.3 billion. The company also said it won $1.4 billion in new contracts for the period Oct. 17 to Feb. 14.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net


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